All we know to do

Years ago, when I was still on tour with the African Children’s Choir, I got a little overwhelmed by the responsibility before me. Parent twenty-four children and help them become responsible adults. Make their voices sound good. Represent the organization and share about God everywhere you go.

It got to be a little much, and I wasn’t the only one overwhelmed.

We were staying at a church, all together as a group, camping out in the sanctuary in sleeping bags. I wandered into a small classroom where two other chaperones were, kneeling down by a couple chairs. I hesitated, not wanting to interrupt their holy moment, but they looked up, smiled, and invited me in without a word.

We kneeled in silence for awhile, lost in overwhelming thoughts. Then someone started praying. Wisdom. Guidance. Patience. Help. The other chaperone prayed. I prayed.

Then we ran out of words.

So someone started singing.

At first, I just listened with a lump in my throat. I tried to sing along and found that I could not. I put my head in my hands and let the melodies wash over me.

After a few minutes, my voice returned and I sang along, even bringing a few songs to our private little worship session.

We sang for what seemed like an hour, but was probably only ten to fifteen minutes. When we had no more melodies left, we sat in silence for a few more minutes. Then we rose to our feet, hugged each other, and walked out of that room strengthened.

Music is good when we run out of words to say, when we feel so empty we don’t know what to bring. Even a short, simple melody can do so much. I believe that during those twenty minutes of worship, God was glorified, and we were given the strength we needed to face that day.

Sometimes when we’re struggling, music gives words to our struggles. When we desperately need God, but don’t have the right words, those worship melodies can be all we know to do.


14 Replies to “All we know to do”

  1. This is a great post and I can definitely relate! Music is definitely therapy for me. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat and played hymn after hymn from memory as they come into my thoughts. The piano has always been my place “to go” for comfort, to relieve stress, and worship.

  3. I know what you mean.

    Some of the most worshipful times I’ve ever had involved a practice room with a piano in it. A few others have been the little impromptu worship/prayer sessions my college choir would hold before every concert. And oh! the singing! It isn’t even the lyrics, necessarily. It’s the melodies and harmonies, so beautiful and rich, pouring out everything we’re feeling, happy and sad, hopeful and fearful, and clinging to God.

    I’ve heard of a saying in German that translated to English is, “Bach gave us God’s Word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s thunder. God gave us music so that we might pray without words.”

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